The College of Staten Island men’s basketball squad came from behind to take a second half lead but it was William Paterson that made a final run, sealing an 81-75 winner over the Dolphins in the 13th annual Tournament of Heroes Championship played this evening at the Sports & Recreation Center. CSI fell to 5-4 overall, while the Pioneers lifted their overall mark to 8-2 to open the season. Earlier in the evening, PSU-Behrend won the consolation leg of the tourney, 53-42, over Misericordia University.
After CSI registered the first four points of the night, WPU began to exercise control, sprinting out to an 11-0 run, powered by a pair of buckets each from Bright Mensah and Jacques Conceicao. From there, the visitors kept CSI out of reach, going up by as many as 10 points on two occasions, the second on a tip-in by Mensah at the six-minute mark to take a 25-15 advantage. The Dolphins had the better of play from there, however, finishing the half on a 16-10 run, highlighted by a pair of Will Fonseca jumpers and back-to-back three-pointers by Frank Schettino and Mohamed Marie. At the break, CSI trailed, 35-31.
CSI looked to seize momentum in the second frame, and came to within three, 37-34, on an Edin Bracic three, but WPU answered with back-to-back three’s from Sandy Burgos to give the Pioneers another large cushion. WPU again went ahead by double-digits a pair of times, the last on a Mensah drive at 13:08 to give the Pioneers a 52-42 edge, and again, CSI made their move.
Three straight free-throws by the Dolphins started a 13-1 run over the next five minutes, and CSI took a 55-53 lead with 8:44 via a Schettino basket. The teams then traded baskets, with CSI taking their final lead at 7:33 on a Fonseca lay-up. In the turning point of the game, CSI had a chance to go up by two possessions moments later, but Fonseca short-ended a lay-up and WPU’s James McLane went the other way and tied it on a runner in the paint at 6:50. That started a 13-4 WPU run over the next three-plus minutes, giving WPU a 68-61 edge with just over two minutes to play.
After a CSI turnover and a three-point miss, WPU went up by as many as 12, 78-66, with just under a minute left, before CSI caught fire and hit a trio of three-pointers with inside of 30 ticks left to shorten the final gap at 81-75.
WPU shot a crisp 47.5% for the game while the Dolphins struggled to just 38.3%. The Dolphins hit a remarkable 11-of-19 shots from three-point range, but inside of the arc went a chilly 12-41 (29%). Burgos led all WPU scorers with 24 points to go with four rebounds and was named the Tournament’s Most Valuable Player. After a 13-point, eight-rebound effort Terik Bridgeman was named to the All-Tournament team. For the Dolphins, Will Fonseca led the way with 33 points and 10 rebounds, which included a 4-4 clip from beyond the arc. Fonseca was also named to the All-Tournament team. Schettino finalized with 20 points and six rebounds for the Dolphins.
Also named to the All-Tournament team were PSU-Behrend’s Nick Delisio and Misericordia’s Joe Busacca.
The Dolphins fell to 1-2 all-time against the Pioneers, and are 11-15 all-time in Tournament of Heroes play. They return to action this Saturday, when they host Brooklyn College at 3pm.